LISBON: Portugal will lift its suspension on flights to and from Britain and Brazil for “essential trips” as it moves ahead with an easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the interior ministry said Friday.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said late Thursday that Portugal will from Monday start the third phase of a gradual lifting of curbs imposed after the country was hit with a powerful coronavirus wave in January.
The interior ministry said “essential trips” are those “for professional reasons, studies, family reunions, health or humanitarian reasons.”
Checks at the Spanish border will be maintained for at least two extra weeks. Portugal will continue to require visitors from countries with an infection rate above 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants to follow a two-week quarantine.
Among these countries are Brazil and South Africa, but also France and the Netherlands.
Travel from countries with a rate above 150 cases for 100,000 inhabitants – such as Spain, Germany and Italy — are also limited to essential trips, the ministry said. All passengers arriving in Portugal by air are still required to present a negative PCR test.
Except for around a dozen municipalities, Portugal will continue to loosen curbs as planned, with the reopening Monday of restaurants, shopping centres, high schools and universities.
It is the third of four stages for gradually lifting restrictions started in mid-March following two months of general lockdown to contain a third virus wave.
The number of new Covid-19 cases detected each day in Portugal has stabilised around 500 infections a day.
This is compared to a peak of nearly 13,000 at the end of January and the number hospitalised for the disease has fallen to fewer than 500 patients for the first time since September.